A flurry of questions fired at…

Where are you at?
Behind a desk, in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Beside me builders saw, bang, crash – as the church builds a cafe and more community space. When I am not here (church pastor) I am at Laidlaw College, lecturing in areas of mission and leadership. It’s a fascinating mix: being with people in journey of mission, yet reflecting in terms of the wider tradition.

Text and books and jots & scrolls… what words are working for you right now?
Decolonizing God, by Mark Brett. How to read the Bible given it’s use in colonisation? It’s stuff like this that reassures me the emerging/alt conversation is more than style, but is also the substance of doing faith and being Christian. Also enjoying The Spirituality of Wine and pondering the seasons – vines; grapes; wine; restuarants. What season am I? What season is my church community? And whenever I get sick of words, which is quite often actually, I enjoy the prayers of Michael Leunig and the icons of the Orthodox church.

We’re all on a cruise. Are you rocking the boat?
Yes. But I am always aware that boat rocking makes people sick, and that sick people dial out of participation. Which makes for a poorer journey. So I like to rock boats in ways that keep punters participating. So practically, what am I doing that is boat rocking? Trying to organise a Sustaining missional life gathering of the New Zealand missional tribes; suggesting to the church we consider changing the name; asking my family the question – what is the biggest risk we as a family could make?

Bread, wine plus….?

Has to be a red wine for a start. None of those flash New Zealand whites, but a deep, rich, complex red. Bread, well anything as long as it has rock salt. Now add my homegrown organic lasagne. In the last 12 months I’ve got into my vegetable garden in a big way – even changed the name of my blog to sustain:if:able kiwi and it makes for a pretty awesome vegetarian lasagne.

Are you in touch with your roots?
Sort of. I’m still a Baptist by conviction, glad of a grass roots, bottom up ecclesiology and a radical history. I still hold to the tenets of being evangelical – seeing Bible and change and practical faith as important. However, some others who call themselves evangelical make me wonder if I’m in the same place.

5 course meal, or quick picnic?
Depends who the company is and whether I have to make the food. And the weather. If it’s a fire, then 5 course. If its spring.

Is it time we stopped talking about ’emerging church’?
No. It takes energy to rebrand. Sure, the brand is polluted. But I’d rather work at filling the brand with content – with creative worship that helps people love the poor and creates home for the wounded.

The inevitable i-pod question…
Black Seeds and Fat Freddys Drop – awesome Kiwi dub music.

Are you Out of Bounds?
Depends who you ask. Just a few months ago I was labelled “incense smoking postmodernist” by some local Christians. So they would say yes. But I’m also a 41 year old father of two, driver of a station wagon and owner of a mortgage and at times that feels pretty suburban. But perhaps that’s the real challenge. Alt.worship started out at 9 pm. Hip for 20-somethings, shite for parents. It’s easy to be hip and single. My dream is to be radical and 60 with grandkids. I woke up once, half way between day and dream, aged 60 and announcing I was resigning my existing job to go(once again), experimental community planting.

3 hour train journey – who would you like to be sat opposite?
My partner. We get on really well and it would make for a very comfortable conversation. And then I’d like to add Andrei Rublev, the creator of Rublev’s icon. Artist and theologian. But he took Abraham out of the Genesis 18 narrative and I’d like to grill him about his theology of being human. And then I’d add in Bono. I’d like to listen to Rublev v Bono in terms of spirituality and formation and creativity.

What’s on the radar?
Working on a regular gathering of missional Kiwi leaders, drawn together not by gurus, but by a shared journey of friendship. Wanting to nail three book projects. Yep, dumb I know. But I have a project on female Christ figures in film that messes with lots of historical theology. Another project on table talk, exploring missional/emerging church by creating a dialogue with the families of Abraham, David, Ruth. It also messes with our notions of family and theology and church. And another project on missional/emerging church within established church walls that names some of our journey at Opawa. Come to think of it, established churches are the new out of bounds aren’t they?